Back in 2006 Lokku opened up Nestoria API in hope to create a field for serendipitous connections. Yesterday, we got another reminder that this strategy is working.
Granted, Colin Eberhardt is not a new acquaintance. Colin’s pioneering HTML5-based property application for Windows Phone 7 grabbed our notice back in 2011 and not only because it was using Nestoria Listing API.
Only yesterday we’ve heard from Colin about his latest project - PropertyCross. As it turns out the project addresses a problem that we’ve been grappling for a while: selecting a cross-platform mobile framework to use.
We talked more with Colin about the PropertyCross project and we thought to share the news with you.
Tell us, what exactly is PropertyCross project about?
In the past couple of years mobile and tablet usage has exploded. No matter what line of business you are in, you will almost certainly be under pressure to release a mobile version of your existing website or desktop app.
The problem is, the different mobile platforms - they are many and all are different. If you want to release your app on all of the major mobile platforms you have to write it multiple times using the native languages and tools of each mobile platform. This is clearly a costly exercise!
Fortunately there are a number of cross-platform frameworks available that allow you to target multiple mobile platforms from a common codebase. The problem is, these frameworks vary significantly in terms of their quality, how much code can be shared and the end user experience they deliver. Many of these frameworks are HTML5-based, however, there are a number that deliver a fully-native UI, that do not seem to get the same media exposure as those based on HTML5.
PropertyCross aims to to allow developers to compre a range of cross-platform frameworks quickly and easily. This is achieved by presenting exactly the same app, a property finder (which uses the Nestoria APIs!), implemented using each framework for each mobile platform. This makes is much easier to compare these frameworks side-by-side.
* How did the idea for the project came about?
The idea came about for a few reasons.
Firstly, I had previously done some work with jQuery Mobile and had found myself disappointed with some aspects of the end-user experience. My feeling is that HTML5 is a little over-hyped, it certainly isn’t a silver-bullet for cross-plaform development.
I think it is important that projects like PropertyCross allow you to easily compare HTML5 implementations with a native equivalent so that you can see exactly what compromises you will have to make by going HTML5.
Secondly, at Apps World earlier this year I stumbled across another two cross-platform frameworks that I had not heard of before, and since then I have found many more. This is an exciting and rapidly moving area of technology, my hope is that PropertyCross will reflect the broad range of frameworks available.
* Which framework did you find the most useful in your work? What did you take away from the project?
This is a tricky one, I don’t want to focus too much attention on any one framework because I want to encourage further submissions. Having said that, I was pleasantly surprised by the end-user experience delivered by SenchaTouch. For a HTML5 framework it is very slick. I am also keen on frameworks that deliver a native UI (I don’t like compromises!), and Xamarin, which uses C# and .NET code, is a personal favourite of mine.
* Anything else coming out of the pipeline?
PropertyCross went live just two weeks ago, so for the time-being my pipeline is PropertyCross, PropertyCross and more PropertyCross. We have some frameworks that are currently in the works, including KendoUI, RhoMobile and jQTouch. I’m also hoping to present the findings of this project at some conferences over the next year.
* Having worked with our API - is there anything that you’d like us to improve there? (Don’t feel like you have to be nice to us, we can take it!)
I’ve used the Nestoria APIs a number of times, and think it is very good. The only thing I’d really like to see improved is the data, I’d love to see a more detailed description of each property. Also, I generally use Nestoria in technical articles, as most of the readers are US-based, it would be great if you could cover the USA with your property database - although I doubt that is feasible!
While Colin’s wish for more detailed description or the US-based data will have to wait for a while, it is great to see another imaginative use of Nestoria API data such as helping developers pick the right cross-platform mobile framework.